WW1 Battlefield Weekend, 3 DaysEurope
HIGHLIGHTS:Lille - The Somme - Villers-Bretonneux - Ypres - Fromelles - Vimy Ridge This three-day introductory tour allows visitors to see the major areas of British and Commonwealth involvement across the Western Front. The tour is flexible enough to ensure that visitors from all countries will see the memorials to their country's fallen. Day 1 Lille - The Somme - Villers-Bretonneux - Ypres We visit the Somme battlefield to see, amongst other important sites, the Newfoundland Memorial Park at Beaumont Hamel, the Ulster Tower, the Pozieres battlefield, Windmill Hill, and Courcellette. We will also visit the National War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, before returning, via the huge Lochnagar mine crater, to the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing to conclude the day. Day 2 Ypres - Ypres Salient - Ypres We spend today in the Ypres Salient to see some of the most important sites that remain: John McRae's Essex Farm Cemetery, Messines Ridge, Hooge Crater, Polygon Wood, Tyne Cot and the moonscape of the Hill 60. This evening we attend the nightly playing of the Last Post ceremony under the Menin Gate at 8pm. Day 3 Ypres - Fromelles - Vimy Ridge - Lille At the Fromelles Battlefield visit the new Pheasant Wood Cemetery, then see where Adolf Hitler served and the bunker he is reputed to have used as a billet. We cross the Loos battlefield on our way to the Canadian Memorial Park at Vimy Ridge, where we take a trench and tunnel tour (weather permitting) and spend time at the massive and imposing Vimy Memorial. We continue to Lille where this tour ends. View our great airfares, travel insurance, hotels and car hire.
DepartingValid for select departures 11 April - 17 October
D-Day: Battles for France, 4 DaysEurope
HIGHLIGHTS: Paris - Normandy Beaches - St Marie du Mont - Bayeux This four-day tour will take you from defeat to victory, tracing the events during one of the most gripping periods of the 20th century as we follow in the footsteps of brave soldiers. Day 1 Paris - Normandy Beaches - St Marie du Mont Making our way to Normandy, we stop at the Merville Battery overlooking Sword Beach and the military cemetery. In Ranville, the first village to be liberated after the Allied offensive, visit the War Cemetery before explore Pegasus Bridge, which was captured intact in less than ten minutes on 6 June 1944. Day 2 Normandy Beaches Today is spent covering the British and Canadian landing and dropping zones; Gold and Juno Beaches, each with their own reminders of epic events, the Mulberry Harbour in Arromanches, and many other places of interest, including the Canadian War Cemetery at Benysur-Mer and Longues-sur-Mer Battery. Day 3 Normandy Beaches Time today is spent covering the American involvement. We visit Utah Beach and 'bloody' Omaha Beach, and Colleville Cemetery, containing the remains of nearly 10,000 servicemen. We also stop at Sainte-Mere-Eglise, where paratrooper John Steele got caught on the church steeple. Day 4 St Marie du Mont - Bayeux - Paris In Bayeux we visit the Memorial Museum and see the world-famous Tapestry, before we travel to Trun and learn about the Battle of the Falaise Pocket, which opened the way to Paris for the Allies. On return to Paris our tour ends. View our great airfares, travel insurance, hotels and car hire.
DepartingValid for select departures 1 May - 2 October 2015
Anzacs on The Western Front, 4 DaysEurope
HIGHLIGHTS: Lille - Ypres - Amiens - The Somme - Villers-Bretonneux Our ANZAC tours retrace the steps of the Australian and New Zealand troops in WWI. The 4-day tour runs on selected dates throughout the season, however, if you would like your tour to coincide with the ANZAC Day Dawn Ceremony, join our special five-day tour departing Lille on April 23rd 2015. Day 1 Lille - Ypres We travel along the Messines Ridge, where the New Zealand and Australian troops played a crucial role. We visit Polygon Wood, where the monument to the 5th Division stands on the pre-war rifle butte, and Tyne Cot, where the ANZAC's played such an important role in the Battle of Passchendaele. We explore the Hooge Crater Trenches and Museum as well as Hill 60, famous for the role of the Australian Tunnellers. Our first day finishes with the moving Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres. Day 2 Ypres - Amiens Visit the newly-dedicated Pheasant Wood Cemetery where 250 Australian soldiers have recently been laid to rest. We continue our day exploring the Wellington Tunnels in Arras and learn about the battle at Bullecourt including a visit to the evocative Digger memorial. Day 3 Amiens - The Somme - Amiens We tour the front line on the battlefields of the Somme; visiting Pozieres, the famous Windmill site and Mouquet Farm. New Zealanders will find the monument at Longueval very moving and the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing is a chilling reminder of the British Expeditionary Force losses here in 1916 - 1917. Day 4 Amiens - Villers-Bretonneux - Lille In Villers-Bretonneux we see the inspiring Australian National Memorial and the Franco-Australian Museum, housed in the Victoria School, where the words "Never Forget Australia" are still proudly displayed over the school yard. We continue in the footsteps of the ANZAC's via the Memorial Park at Le Hamel, before returning to Lille where the tour ends. View our great airfares, travel insurance, hotels and car hire.
DepartingValid for select departures 14 April - 20 October
Greece: Peloponnese & Spetses, 5 DaysEurope
HIGHLIGHTS: Athens - Nafplion - Epidaurus - Mycenae - Spetses - Hydra - Athens Filled with cultural riches and a diverse natural beauty, the Peloponnese is where you will find the best of almost everything Greek. Discover the Homeric palaces of Agamemnon at Mycenae, see the best preserved of all Greek theatres at Epidaurus and enjoy the tranquillity and authentic charm of Spetses, an island popular with high-society Athenians, but relatively undiscovered by other visitors. Day 1 Athens - Nafplion Crossing the Corinth Canal, we stop at a local winery to enjoy a tasting of the famous Agiorgitiko red wine before arriving in Nafplion, a colourful town with neoclassical buildings, middle age fountains and labyrinthine streets. Day 2 Nafplion - Epidaurus - Mycenae - Nafplion We visit Epidaurus, famous for its ancient theatre and explore Mycenae to see the Beehive Tombs, the Treasury of Atreus, the Lion Gate and the remains of Agamemnon's Royal Palace. Later visit the Karonis Distillery for a tour and tasting of its ouzo and liqueur products. Day 3 Nafplion - Spetses Take the hydrofoil to Spetses, a naturally beautiful island, located at the south end of the Argo-Saronic Gulf. The rest of the day is at leisure. Perhaps sip an espresso or frappe, while watching the locals go about their everyday lives in the tiny port of Dapia. Day 4 Spetses As cars are banned from the island, we enjoy a morning tour of Spetses by horse-drawn carriage. Admire the grand mansions adorning the narrow cobbled streets of the island and visit the House of Bouboulina museum with its wood-carved Florentine ceiling and collection of old weapons. After an afternoon at leisure, we enjoy a final dinner together. Day 5 Spetses - Hydra - Athens Travel by ferry to the island of Hydra, another gem of the Agro-Saronic Gulf, with tiny cobbled lanes, secluded squares and exquisitely preserved stone architecture. After a walking tour to see the main sights of the town we return to Athens by ferry where the tour ends. View our great airfares, travel insurance, hotels and car hire.
DepartingValid for select departures 29 May - 2 October 201
Kent & Sussex, 4 DaysUnited Kingdom
HIGHLIGHTS: London - Chartwell - Penshurst Place - Canterbury - Whitstable - Dover - Canterbury - Chapel Down Winery - Rye - Sissinghurst Castle - London This four day tour explores the south east corner of England, which is filled with a wealth of historical, cultural and culinary attractions. Discover why Canterbury is the jewel in Kent's crown and why Whitstable has been dubbed the 'Pearl of Kent'. Wander through peaceful gardens, taste award winning English sparkling wines and explore 1066 country, made famous by the Battle of Hastings. Day 1 London - Chartwell - Penshurst Place - Canterbury Explore Chartwell, once the private home of Sir Winston Churchill and Penshurst Place, described as 'the grandest and most perfectly preserved example of a fortified manor house in all England'. Later we arrive at our hotel in the private grounds of Canterbury Cathedral. Day 2 Canterbury - Whitstable - Dover - Canterbury Our circular route from Canterbury takes us to Whitstable, a charming port bustling with picturesque lanes, boutique shops, seafood eateries and artisanal bakeries. We then visit the iconic White Cliffs of Dover. Back in Canterbury, enjoy an evening at leisure. Day 3 Canterbury - Chapel Down Winery - Rye Visit the Chapel Down Winery to taste some of their award-winning English wines before boarding the Tenterden Steam Railway, which winds its way through the beautiful countryside of the Rother Valley. Our destination today is Rye, a picturesque market town in 1066 country. Day 4 Rye - Sissinghurst Castle - London Explore 1066 country including Rye with its maritime maze of Medieval and Georgian buildings, Hastings with its picturesque Old Town and the thriving market town of Battle, home to the very spot where King Harold fell during the fateful conflict. After visiting Sissinghurst Castle, we return to London. View our great airfares, travel insurance, hotels and car hire.
DepartingValid for select departures 11 May - 7 September 2
Hampton Court Flower Show, 4 DaysUnited Kingdom
HIGHLIGHTS: RHS Garden Wisley & Hever Castle - Sissinghurst & Chartwell - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew & Ham House and Garden - RHS Hampton Court Flower Show Hampton Court Palace is a fantastic backdrop for the world's largest flower show. To make your visit even more special we explore some of the best homes and gardens in London and Kent. Day 1 RHS Garden Wisley & Hever Castle At RHS Garden Wisley we explore the Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden and see the picturesque orchard, before we visit Hever Castle, once home to Anne Boleyn. This historic castle, with a double moat, has 125 acres of spectacular gardens, offering visitors plenty to discover. Day 2 Sissinghurst & Chartwell At Sissinghurst, we visit the rose garden, the white garden, the cottage garden and parts of the house. This afternoon, stroll through the beautiful tranquil garden at Chartwell, once the rural retreat of Sir Winston Churchill. Day 3 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew & Ham House and Garden With over 300 acres of beautiful landscape and an outstanding collection of plants, the UNESCO World Heritage Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is an absolute must see. At Ham House, one of Europe's greatest 17th century houses, we explore the famous cherry garden and orangery. Day 4 RHS Hampton Court Flower Show Our last day is devoted to the Hampton Court Flower Show, now the world's largest flower show. There is something for everyone to enjoy, and you can spend the day amid the fine show gardens and horticultural exhibitions. Our tour comes to an end after a wonderful day. View our great airfares, travel insurance, hotels and car hire.
DepartingOnly on 29 June 2015 and 2 July 2015
Isle of Wight & The New Forest, 5 DaysUnited Kingdom
HIGHLIGHTS: London - Chawton House - Portsmouth - Isle of Wight - New Forest - Newbury - London This tour features two regions of natural beauty; on the Isle of Wight, taste fresh produce and uncover some of the history of British Royalty and pick the freshest fruit and vegetable in the New Forest. Uncover the best of Southern England on this wonderful five-day tour. Day 1 London - Chawton House - Portsmouth - Isle of Wight Our journey takes us to the 17th century Chawton House where Jane Austen once lived. After some free time in Portsmouth, the UK's only island city, we board the ferry for our crossing to the Isle of Wight. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner that features fresh seasonal and local produce. Day 2 Isle of Wight Visit Carisbrooke Castle, where King Charles I was famously imprisoned prior to his execution. Later explore Ventnor Botanic Garden, which is unrivalled for its collections of subtropical and exotic plants. Day 3 Isle of Wight - New Forest After visiting Osborne House, Queen Victoria's royal seaside palace, we embark on a scenic drive to Yarmouth. This afternoon we return to the mainland and make our way to Buckler's Hard, which played an important part in Britain's shipbuilding history. We spend the next two nights in the New Forest. Day 4 New Forest In Ringwood, a traditional market town, we enjoy some free time and discover the lively weekly market. Later, we explore the ancient New Forest and learn more from a local guide about its history, wildlife and foraging for its fruits and fungi. We enjoy a farewell dinner together tonight. Day 5 New Forest - Newbury - London Today we make our way to Newbury. Here we enjoy a traditional narrow boat experience on the Kennet and Avon canal before returning to London. View our great airfares, travel insurance, hotels and car hire.
DepartingValid for select departures 3 May - 27 September 2
Orkney & The Highlands, 4 DaysUnited Kingdom
HIGHLIGHTS:Inverness - Scottish Highlands - Kirkwall - Neolithic settlements & archaeological sites - Wick - Dunrobin Castle - Inverness On this tour of discovery, see some of the most dramatic landscapes in Europe and explore a sliver of mankind's ancient existence that's found nowhere else. Steeped in Viking history, the Orkney is sprinkled with prehistoric sites that have survived Scotland's climate for over 5,000 years. Day 1 Inverness - Scottish Highlands - Kirkwall We travel through the northern Highlands passing through Beauly and Strathpeffer. We continue our journey through the Caithness to the Castle and Gardens of Mey, the beloved home of the late Queen Mother. Later we catch the ferry to Orkney. Day 2 Neolithic settlements & archaeological sites Visit a number of amazing archaeological sites, including the Stone Age tomb of Maes Howe and Skara Brae and the mystical standing stones of Brodgar. We drive to the Broch of Gurness, where we see evidence of a Viking settlement. Tides permitting, we also walk to the Brough of Birsay. Day 3 Kirkwall - Wick We explore the former Viking settlement of Kirkwall, with its interesting historical sites including St Magnus Cathedral, Earl's Palace and Bishop's Palace. This is also home to one of Scotland's best distilleries, Highland Park Distillery. We travel to Scapa Flow and we visit the famous Italian Chapel, before we take the ferry back to the mainland and drive to Wick. Day 4 Wick - Dunrobin Castle - Inverness We visit Dunrobin Castle which has been home to the Dukes of Sutherland since the 1400s. Following a beautiful coastal road, we cross the Dornoch and Cromarty Firths and travel back to Inverness. View our great airfares, travel insurance, hotels and car hire.
DepartingValid for select departures 5 May - 29 September 2
Istanbul to Kusadasi, 6 DaysEurope
HIGHLIGHTS:Istanbul - Gallipoli Battlefields - Canakkale - Troy - Assos - Yesilyurt - Pergamon - Sirince - Pamukkale - Ephesus - Priene - Didyma - Miletus - Kusadasi Develop a taste for the exotic on this short tour where our small coach comes into its own to take you off the well-known tourist trail to uncover hidden Turkey. Discover the Gallipoli peninsula, the site of one of the most futile battles of World War I. See ancient Greco-Roman cities - including Ephesus, in many ways the grandest of all. Day 1 Istanbul - Gallipoli Battlefields - Canakkale Away from Istanbul we find the Chateau Barbare vineyards where we learn about Turkish wine production. In the Gallipoli peninsula we visit famous sites such as Brighton Beach, ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair. Day 2 Gallipoli - Troy - Assos - Yesilyurt Explore the ruins of Troy where various layers of the city's history may be seen in the foundations, before driving to Assos to discover the Athena Temple. In Kucukkuyu we visit an old olive press to see how Turkish olive oil is made. Day 3 Yesilyurt - Pergamon - Sirince We wind our way along the Kozak Plateau to Pergamon, for a tour of the Acropolis. After lunch at a country farm we drive to Sirince, our base for the next three nights. Day 4 Sirince - Pamukkale - Sirince We see the Temple of Aphrodite, the ruins of Hierapolis and the white limestone travertine and hot spring terraces of Pamukkale. Day 5 Sirince - Ephesus - Sirince We see a pillar which is all that remains of the Temple of Artemis, en route to the Greco-Roman city of Ephesus. On a walk through the city, you will see the famous Library of Celsus and the amphitheatre where the disciple Paul preached. Later we visit the House of the Virgin Mary, a sacred site for Christians and Muslims. Back in Sirince we enjoy a farewell dinner together. Day 6 Sirince - Priene - Didyma - Miletus - Kusadasi Drive to Priene, the favourite home of Alexander The Great, then to Didyma to admire the giant Apollo Theatre and finally visit Miletus, whose famous citizens included Thales a philosopher of nature and the universe. Our tour ends in Kusadasi, a resort city on Turkey's Aegean coast. Ask about our great airfaresView our great airfares, travel insurance, hotels and car hire.
DepartingValid for select departures 5 June - 9 October 201
Heart of England, 5 DaysUnited Kingdom
HIGHLIGHTS: London - Oxford - Cotswolds - Stratfordupon - Avon - Cotswolds - Lacock - Bath - Longleat - Avebury - London The Heart of England is one the UK's most iconic regions, encompassing Oxford, the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon and Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage site. On this five-day journey, we will visit Oxford and Lacock, explore quaint Cotswold villages famous for their charming honey-coloured stone cottages with thatched roofs, wander along historic village streets and explore traditional stately homes. Day 1 London - Oxford - Cotswolds Relax as we travel through the Chilterns to Oxford, the most famous university city in the world. Here we enjoy a walk among the golden-stone buildings and 'dreaming spires' and visit one of the university's iconic colleges. This afternoon we traverse the gentle, timeless hills of the Cotswolds, and pass through scenic villages, stopping at some of the gems on our way to tonight's accommodation in beautiful Chipping Campden. This evening we will enjoy a welcome dinner together. Day 2 Cotswolds - Stratfordupon - Avon - Cotswolds This morning is a feast for literary enthusiasts and history buffs as we visit Shakespeare's Stratford-upon- Avon to discover Ye Olde England of the Bard's birth and his final resting place, Holy Trinity Church just outside the city. En route we will stop at a thatched farmhouse where the young William Shakespeare courted his future bride Anne Hathaway. Later, we meander through country lanes and honey-coloured hamlets to quaint villages such as Snowshill, Bidford and Broadway, which are often referred to as the "Jewels of the Cotswolds". Tonight we return to our delightful Cotswolds base for an evening at leisure. Day 3 Cotswolds - Lacock - Bath Leaving the Cotswolds behind, this morning we journey south towards Somerset, a beautiful and varied county in the west of England. Our first visit is to the picture-perfect village of Lacock, which has been used in countless television and movie productions including Pride and Prejudice, The Other Boleyn Girl and Harry Potter. After some time here to wander the historic village streets, see the exhibitions in the museum and visit the abbey we continue to Castle Coombe a small village in Wiltshire, also frequently used as a backdrop for period television and cinema dramas. Here we will enjoy a delicious cream tea, something that has been a tradition of British high society as far back as the early 19th century when Anna, the 7th Dutchess of Bedford, started to enjoy a pot a tea and a light snack privately in her boudoir during the afternoon. Our final destination today is Bath, where we spend the next two nights. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Bath is truly one of Europe's most attractive cities, with the highest concentration of listed buildings anywhere in the British Isles. The evening is free to enjoy the city as you wish. Day 4 Bath Today we explore this splendid Georgian city to learn more about Roman life at the restored Roman Baths and see the towering 15th century abbey, fascinating Pulteney Bridge and the imposing Georgian Royal Crescent. We will also visit No.1 Royal Crescent, a magnificent townhouse that creates a wonderfully vivid picture of life in 18th century Bath. This afternoon is yours to spend at leisure. Those wishing to relax may choose to spend a few hours at the Thermae Bath Spa, Britain's original and only natural thermal spa, while others may choose to explore the myriad small independent shops, stylish boutiques and familiar high street stores. Tonight we will enjoy a farewell dinner together. Day 5 Bath - Longleat - Avebury - London From Bath we drive to Longleat, an English stately home, currently the seat of the Marquess of Bath. After a behind the scenes tour of the house, which will incorporate some of Lord Bath's personal murals, we continue to the village of Avebury to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Standing Stones, which rival Stonehenge as the largest and most complex prehistoric site in Britain. While Stonehenge attracts tourists from all around the world (and security precautions prevent you from getting anywhere near the stones) at Avebury visitors may walk freely among the stones in relative peace and quiet, away from the tourist crowds. Later today we take a leisurely drive back to London where the tour ends. View our great airfares, travel insurance, hotels and car hire.
DepartingValid for select departures 23 March - 12 October
Back-Roads Touring is a small-group touring concept offering leisurely regional tours throughout the UK and Europe. Tours explore local areas that might otherwise be missed such as Cornwall, La Provence, Loire Valley, the Scottish Highlands and Northern Italy. Tours range from one to 14 days in length. This company has more than 25 years experience touring the UK and Europe, with guides that are both knowledgeable and approachable.
Why travel with Back-Roads
- Tailor-made small group tours
- Personal and intimate experiences at destinations
- Leisurely pace with 8:30am-9am departure times
- Dine and mingle with local residents
- Stay in castles, old estates and traditional hotels
Popular Back-Roads tours
- Highlights of Britain (9 days)
- Heart of England (5 days)
- La Belle France (9 days)
- A Scottish Journey (8 days)
- Spanish Inspiration (10 days)
A personal and memorable experience
Back-Roads tours have a maximum of 18 people on board, ensuring an intimate and relaxing experience with great attention to detail and a personal touch. Take a step back in history and tour WWI battlefields in France and the Anzacs on the Western Front. Explore the royal gardens of Hampton Court, once home to King Henry VIII or tour the Chelsea Flower Show and see some of England’s most iconic gardens.
Get lost in a maze of narrow lanes in the Cotswolds, discover medieval villages overflowing with history and character, or sip on Europe's finest wine at a boutique French winery. With a Back-Roads tour, you're guaranteed to have an experience unlike anything you've done before.
Taste and feel the local charm
All tours place a strong emphasis on food. Back-Roads believe that experiencing local cuisine and wine is one of the most important parts of travelling, which is why their tours always include several group dinners at local restaurants. Tours also include daily breakfast at your hotel, be it a continental breakfast in Europe or an English or Irish breakfast in the UK.
With a Back-Roads tour, you won't be staying in dreary roadside motels or generic brand-name accommodation. The type of lodging at each stop reflects the company's mantra of providing specialty experiences, possessing a homely and wholesome charm whether it be a hotel in the private grounds of Canterbury Cathedral or a 17th-Century Spanish hotel.
Did you know...
- 20% of Back-Roads travellers are single travellers
- Once Back-Roads has four confirmed passengers, the tour is guaranteed to run
- Return passengers receive a 2.5% discount on all future tours
Explore Back-Roads Touring
I chose this trip because I wanted challenging biking in addition to beautiful scenery. I got it! It was the hardest and farthest biking I have ever done. I feel that I really accomplished something. The first part of the trip - through the Chianti region - was spectacular. I honestly feel sorry for anyone that doesn't get to experience the region on a bike. Every view was a postcard.
This was our third Backroads trip with the first two being over 20 years ago. We experienced the same enthusiasm from Backroads and the leaders today as back then. Backroads does it right! Every aspect seems well thought out—the hotels, meals, bicycle routes, events put on by the locals specifically for us (wine tasting, lunches, dinners, the 'lavender lady', the 'olive oil lady'), snacks, wines...the list goes on and on! This trip will go down in our memory books as first rate in all aspects!!
It was the trip of a lifetime and was the perfect recipe of all that we find essential to the ideal trip: beautiful scenery, interesting culture with opportunity to use a foreign language, historical sites, gourmet food, and active outdoors time—yet without any of the associated stressors that usually come with planning such adventures. It didn't hurt that the weather was beyond unbelievable as well! Thanks for such an unreal experience that provided memories for a lifetime!